misleading statistics regarding debt and demographics

User Forum Topic
Submitted by temeculaguy on June 13, 2019 - 12:16am


You can find this article in numerous locations, this one is geared towards Southern California. So the reader can see that Auto loan, student loans and personal loans per household makes some cities look ripe for risk. For those that don't want to read the article, the cities with the highest non mortgage debt per household in order are

1. Yorba Linda
2. Santa Clarita
3. Temecula
4. Murietta
5. Gilroy
6. San Clemente
7. Hanford
8. Newport Beach

and the article goes on to list the top 15 and then says San Fran and Berkely have the least auto debt.

While some may see this as proof we all need to live in urban cites or that the burbs and some upper class non urban cities are debt ridden you have to look another layer of the statistics and how it ignores demographics, housing stock and other very real factors. To coin a new phrase, this is fact based fake news, or more my speed as Mark Twain said "There are three kinds of lies; Lies, damned lies and statistics."

Let's take the towns at #2 and #3, two places where I've lived for a combined 40 years, Santa Clarita and Temecula.

The author quotes lending tree as households, but then cites numbers per resident. Those are huge distinctions because #2 and #3 have a higher percentage of single family homes than other cities. Both cites have very few poor people and very few homeless. So 18k in car loans and 10k in student loans (per person or per household is still unclear) doesn't seem so bad.

Or I could see that we need to move to Hemet because because they have 1/3 the student loan debt. Hemet has a lot of elderly and poor, not everyone but far more demographically than Temecula/Murrieta.

Let's go SD County, Oceanside and El Cajon are good, Carlsbad and La Mesa are bad.

A usable study would be debt to income by city, available credit by city., default of credit by city or perhaps welfare by city. Student loan debt, auto loan debt, those are indications that people have jobs, educations and credit. And on student loan debt, it tends to be concentrated among the younger people, cities have wildly varying age demographics.

Makes me think of this recent gem that says El Salvador, Honduras and Guatemala are more peaceful (implies safer) than the USA.


turns out that they count firearms ownership and military expenditures and climate change as factors. But the headline is all mot people read. Anyone relocating to El Salvador because it is more "peaceful?"